By Chloé Taylor
I have a fashion confession. A couple of years ago I worked for a high fashion photographer who brought me along to L’Oreal Fashion Week in Toronto. Tickets for this event are notoriously hard to come by and all the Canadian fashion mucky-mucks were mingling fabulously in the biggest tent I’ve ever seen. I had front row seats for many of the runway shows, sitting just across from Jeanne Beker and her entourage of marvellous young ingénues. I ate tiny hors d’oeuvres in the media lounge with the biggest movers and shakers in the biz. I was surrounded by beautiful people and people who love beautiful people. And I hated every second of it.
What the fashion shows and photo shoots taught me about trends only cemented a rebellious streak I’ve had since adolescence. One show featured a designer whose models strutted down the catwalk in hot pink tights. There is something about the runway that allows for ridiculous things; this is art after all and the designers are the artists, the models the canvas. The outrageous becomes somehow not so outrageous and these particular tights were worn for a reason: the designer’s clothes were typically Canadian (black, brown and grey) and the tights made the outfits stand out. Fair enough. The next day dozens of women attending the fashion shows were wearing hot pink tights. From the middle-aged social set to the up and coming stylists, each of them decided that this most absurd legging colour was the trend of the day worth following. Three days later there was no fuchsia to be found. And a little part of me died.
I want to be fabulous and fashionable and fun. There is also a part of me that despises trends and I lose no love for those folks that follow the fashion choices of others. As a teen I was hell-bent on being different, dying my hair in multi-coloured stripes, wearing leather and chains and high heeled kick-butt boots when my peers were in pastels, collared T-shirts and penny loafers. I double pierced my nose when piercing was still able to shock parents, and was the first of all my girlfriends to be tattooed. Girls just didn’t get inked back then and it was considered brave and outrageous. I was a rebel and a rocker and I cared little about what was trendy. I’m very tall and slim, and as a young woman was tempted a few times into the modelling world. I just couldn’t do it; I couldn’t become part of the machine that manufactures pretty. That said, I was interested in feeling attractive and looking glamorous, which left me with a problem I still face today. How the heck do I shop for clothes while bucking the trends?
My current dilemma is finding jeans. I cannot stand the skinny jean trend because it’s uncomfortable and, in my eyes, unattractive. I look at mannequins plastered in jeggings and immediately think they’re looking a bit on the chunky side. I am a woman and I have hips that are wider than my ankles. Combine a low-rise and a tight ankle and voila, we have muffin-top big-bum on display.
If skinny girls look plump in skinny jeans, what do we regular girls do? I recently went to one of the bigger malls in Ottawa, and I’m not kidding, I tried on 27 pairs of jeans. They were too tight, too short and too low in the rise. I did find some higher rise jeans but they were absolutely mom-tastic. I just want to look sexy in jeans without spending $300. I want a long, lean leg with room in the hips and thighs for my actual hips and thighs. I want a waist that fits my small waist without the bum being so tight I can’t sit down or the rise being so low I could get a job as a plumber in a bad joke. I want a slight boot cut. I want quality denim in a unique colour. I want all of this in a 35” inseam. Apparently I want the impossible.
I’m going to keep bucking the trends and choosing to dress in a way that suits my body and my lifestyle. I’ll wear what makes me feel pretty, what I can easily afford and what I consider glamorous. I encourage the rest of you to do the same and if you think that the skinny jean needs to go the way of the hot pink tights, please, for the sake of glamour over fashion, stop buying them. If any of my beautiful readers know where I can get great jeans for a decent price, please let me know where to find them and if you find yourself teary-eyed in the change room at the mall, know that you’re not alone.